CORNER BROOK — During a recent humanitarian trip to Kenya, Pastor Velmer Bessey was amazed at the warmth and happiness shown by those he met along the way.
This hospitality and good humour from the Kenyan people, in spite of poverty and disease, is something he admits touched him deeply.
A pastor at First Pentecostal Church, Bessey and his team of six volunteers were in the African country visiting orphanages and bible colleges. The group also brought several hockey bags full of treats and clothing for the poverty-stricken in the communities they visited.
“I saw people with nothing, and yet they are so happy and content with what they have,” Bessey said. “Even the kids have big smiles on their faces. They were so happy and loving, they treated us royally. I couldn’t get over the warmness of the people.”
But these measures weren’t enough for the pastor and his crew, so now Bessey is behind a fundraiser aimed at sending a suitable vehicle to the community of Imanga to help transport children from the surrounding communities to church and Sunday school.
‘Fit for a junkyard’
Looking at the vehicle Bishop Sylvester Kweyu in Kenya is currently using, Bessey said it was clear something safer and more reliable was in order.
“It was fit for a junkyard — it wasn’t safe to ride in,” he said Wednesday. “In Africa, you would probably put 20 people in a small Toyota. I saw one pastor down there with three people besides himself on a motorcycle, and he was hauling them to church in a trolley.”
With so much need in the African country, Bessey said the gift was chosen because it will have an impact on the hundreds of children who flock to the church.
“We have so many things that take our time, but they go to church three times a day, seven days a week,” he said. “That’s their lives down there, church and Sunday school, so this is very important for them.”
The church is selling tickets for a fundraising gospel concert on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Salvation Army Temple.
Glen Tetford and the Local Worship Band, as well as Angie Rogers and Gary French, will be among the performers. Bessey said the church hopes to raise a minimum of $10,000, which will cover roughly half the cost of the vehicle.
Bessey’s church, as well as the Westside Tabernacle, have already committed $1,000 each to the project. Bessey said he also knows of families who will donate up to $500 for the cause.
Those wishing to help can purchase a ticket at the Bible Truth Supply, RBC, Westside Tabernacle, First Pentecostal Church, Salvation Army Temple and Sonrise Ministries.
Donations are also being accepted at the door on the night of the concert or at First Pentecostal Church.